- NASTAR is an acronym for NAtional STAndard Race.
- The founder of NASTAR was John Fry, the editor-in-chief of SKI Magazine during the 1960s.
- It was the lack of competition that prompted John Fry to embark on his quest to establish a program for recreational skiers with a national standard, specifically that ski schools concentrated on teaching “style” with no definite scoring system to measure a student’s progress or a skier’s general proficiency; there was no organized national competition for the recreational skier when research indicated they made up 95% of the skiing population, and certain areas refused even to allow the setting of gates for race practice, something Fry called “a policy that surpasses imbecility”.
- NASTAR was modeled on the French Chamois Races, an event which brought all French ski instructors together at one site for a competition to rate them on a racing proficiency scale. The teachers raced and were given a mathematical rating expressed as a percentage that their time lagged behind the time recorded by the fastest skier. The main difference with NASTAR however, is that the Chamois races were designed for expert skiers only, with tough, intricate slaloms on steep, challenging terrain. NASTAR courses are open-gate giant slalom races on intermediate slopes.
- Each Resort has its own “Pacesetter”. At the beginning of each season, top racers and instructors nationwide would come together to rate their performance against the best U.S racer of the time. Then they would return to their home resorts as pacesetters. The times recorded by these local pacesetters, adjusted by the amount of their percentage ratings, would create a national standard. And that standard could be used to compare the performances of recreational racers throughout the country.
- Jimmie Heuga, an American hero since winning a bronze medal in slalom at the 1964 Olympics, signed on as the first national pacesetter. Heuga was named to the U.S. Ski Team in 1958, becoming the youngest man ever to make the squad as a 15-year-old. Heuga actually died last month, on February 8, 2010, at Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder due to complications that stemmed from multiple sclerosis, something he was diagnosed with in 1970.
- The first sponsor of the 1968-69 NASTAR season was Joseph Schiltz Brewing Company. The current sponsor for the 2009-10 season is Nature Valley.
- 2,297 skiers racing at 8 ski areas took part in the inaugural season. Those ski areas were: Alpental, WA; Boyne Country, MI; Heavenly Valley, CA; Mt. Snow, VT; Mt. Telemark, WI; Song Mountain, NY; Vail, CO; and Waterville, NH.
- Each NASTAR course is essentially a modified Giant Slalom course with anywhere from 12 to 20 gates.
- Each Resort is encouraged to standardize its course(s) to have a par time of 23 seconds and set courses so that no course is within 5% of the “cap time” (the time it takes the local pacesetter to tuck from the start to the finish of their course without going around gates and is the fastest possible time down the venue).
- If you are one of the top three racers in your division at your ski hill, you automatically get an invite to the NASTAR National Championships. Racing competition is held over a 3-day period. On days 1 & 2, competitors run the course twice each day. This determines the gender age division champions. The first place winners of each division then race against each other in the handicapped Race of Champions to determine the Overall National Champion.
- Since the program’s inception 42 years ago, more than 6 million racer days have been recorded by NASTAR.
- In the 2008-09 season, 220,885 NASTAR racer days were recorded and a record 553,808 starts. Currently, there are over 86,000 overall racers, including in excess of 28,000 youth racers.
- It is expected there will be 1,500 competitors and over 5,000 incremental visitors at the NASTAR Championships held at Winter Park Resort, Colorado between March 25th and March 28th, 2010.
- Staywinterpark, the longest established rental management company in Winter Park, Colorado, is offering special NASTAR lodging deals and discounts to anyone who will be in town during the competition, with savings up to 30% on your choice of condo, cabin, townhome or private home.
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